Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Micro Expression

Role of microRNAs in the control of neural circuits in the nervous system

08 June 2021

Micro Expression

Gene expression involves two key stages: transcribing a section of DNA into an mRNA molecule, then translating that into a protein. The process is modulated by sophisticated regulatory systems, including microRNAs (or miRNAs), small segments of RNA that bind to mRNAs to inactivate them. miRNAs are known to be crucial for development, but identifying their specific roles is complicated. In the spinal cord, distinct types of neurons (shown in different colours in this cross-section from a mouse) are distinguished by the genes they express, and miRNAs are involved in this differentiation. In mice, recent research found that the loss of six miRNAs, the Mi34/449 group, alters the pattern of gene expression in spinal cord neurons, affecting their neural circuits. Mice lacking Mi34/449 also have external symptoms, such as unusual posture and greater heat sensitivity, providing an example of how miRNAs can help define cell populations, with far-reaching consequences for behaviour.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.